I recently worked with a company in the midst of “the whole Facebook thing.” They put a few of the people they assumed were knowledgeable about the brave new frontier on it, they threw some Marketing budget at it, and voila: a Facebook presence.
Well sorta. The good news is that now, 6 or 7 months later, they’ve sorted a lot of things out and have a pretty smart presence after all–and a pretty big and active following. What was one of the smartest things they did? After a few embarrassing months of having their marketing campaigns besmirched by actual post-purchase customers who were not happy with xyz, they put a Support tab in there, with a lot of rich media and How-to stuff going on. It’s targeted, it’s smart.
I always wonder about filtering and censoring, customer education, stuff like that. How are those rich media How-to’s doing, is there a measurable impact on calls? Even better, can you track if those videos are being shared? The vids themselves are helpful, if a little dry by today’s standards. There are other approaches now that are pretty excellent–check out the Story of Stuff for a great example of narrated animation.
The big question as always: do things on the front end create a seamless customer experience? When those random rants and questions comes through Facebook, are they filtered out or heard and correctly funneled to someone who can help, and then is the answer reflected back to the whole audience as a tip on Twitter and Facebook, in the forums and elsewhere? Cuz you never know, I might have the same question…
When social media is brought up as “somewhere we need to go,” it’s often met with a mixture of excitement and discomfort. Excitement because the potential is obvious. Discomfort because the ones who are allocating budget and people sometimes don’t know what it’s about or how it works and that’s…er, uncomfortable.
So the first thing organizations latch onto is platform. Platform, tools, things. And the sales pitch from the companies that host and make these things puts that same group of people at ease because the successful platform gurus have figured out how to do that in a way that anyone can understand: easy and fun to use profiles, access to all kinds of fun stuff, “search that things the way I do,” easy peasy.
Nothing wrong with easy. But keep this in mind: An Ounce of Planning Is Worth a Pound of Platform. Beware the following goblins (tis the season, after all) and plan for them:
- you have a huge infrastructure in place that will be a little nervous by a paradigm change such as social media, especially HR, Legal, and Knowledge groups–how are you bringing them in, are you doing plenty of x-functional activities?
- it’s not the platform, it’s the people, it’s always the people, and that means connecting all the customer facing dots.
- What’s your overarching plan? No, really–what’s the plan? Does it boil down to “launch the platform” or do you have information funneling maps, ownership lined up, x-functional participation, nay-sayer muzzles?
- adoption is the only thing that matters. If you can’t reasonably measure adoption in a way that makes sense to your organization, then you will not have a clear picture of success
- Speaking of measuring, do you have customer contact codes? If not, shoot me an email now. If you do, then what would it take to align them with your social media channels. That’s where the ever-elusive social media support ROI is.
- Clear and unbiased audits throughout the first year will go a long towards helping YOU understand what’s going on in the jungle of tweets, posts, likes, follows, and tags. (audit is a scary word, so maybe call it something else…?)
The implementation of a huge and complex new platform, forums for instance, combined with the same people who are accustomed to taking three months to funnel new information to various internal owners or front line support will undoubtedly result in a slow and painful adoption because few will see the value in such a system. You need a new approach, one that is lightening fast and knows how to use tags, flags, and forwards. Plan for it. Take the champs and turbo users, let them show you how it’s done. Then train the KM team if it makes sense. Follow the content, make a map, see where it goes and map where it should go.
A good test of a community based process is backward tracking and testing a tag. If you have some sort of tag cloud (it’s old, I know, but they work well) or trending system, work it backwards and see where it came from, what’s in there, what’s missing, what’s wrongly classified. It’s a simple test, but it will tell you a lot.
Another tell tale sign that the ducks might not all be lined up is when you see a standard Twitter response that instructs the customer to call the company at 1-800-123-4567. What you’re seeing is a company struggling to get the beast back into its comfort zone: the call center. What you want is a unified plan that plays to each channel’s strength, and interconnects + cross-references effectively, ie, One Voice. Social Media is new (sorta) but really, the basic rules of service haven’t changes much.
Of course an important but simple (simple isn’t always easy, it’s just simple) is to do user testing of your social platform. Five tasks, five end users, one day a month, collate the info, rinse, repeat. The interesting part of this is that it doesn’t test simply the interface (normal) but more importantly tests the content.
>>Today’s bottom line: an ounce of mapping/planning/rethinking is worth a pound of platform.
Do you audit your social media channels? If so, how and how often?